(right screen) late 16th–early 17th century; (left screen) early to mid-17th century
Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, and gold on gilt paper
Overall (each screen): 57 1/16 x 136 9/16 in. (144.9 x 346.8 cm)
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929
Not on view
The suggestive title of this type of screen—“Whose Sleeves?,” or Tagasode—points to its provocative nature. The viewer is invited to speculate over who owns these gorgeous robes. Such screens omit human figures and represent only the robes, personal accessories, and furniture of the owners. However, even if a garment of a particular period is accurately depicted on the screen it may not be synchronous with the painting’s date of production.
The phrase “Whose Sleeves?” is found in classical love poems and was not commonly used to refer to this type of screen until the late nineteenth century. Yet, by the early seventeenth century, representations of clothing stands (ikō-zu) with lavish garments appear in painted handscrolls and woodblock-printed books. Similar compositions were also published in etiquette books for women as guides for how to display garments that were part of their dowry. Actual garments draped over stands could serve as space dividers or interior decoration in premodern Japan, and “Whose Sleeves?” screens could have been used in the same way.
Mrs. H. O. (Louisine W.) Havemeyer , New York (until d. 1929; bequeathed to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "No Ordinary Mortals: The Human and Not-So-Human Figure in Japanese Art," 1996.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Notable Acquisition of Japanese Textiles of the Edo Period (1615-1868)," June 25, 2003–September 21, 2003.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Sensitivity to the Seasons: Spring and Summer," December 17, 2005–June 4, 2006.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "No Ordinary Mortals: The Human Figure in Japanese Art," 2007–2008.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Ukiyo-e Artists' Responses to Romantic Legends of Two Brothers: Narihira and Yukihira," March 27, 2008–June 8, 2008.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Poetry and Travel in Japanese Art," December 18, 2008–May 31, 2009.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Beautiful Country: Yamato-e in Japanese Art," November 20, 2010–June 5, 2011.
Artist: Kano Chikanobu (Japanese, 1660–1728)Date: 17th–18th centuryMedium: One of a pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, and gilt on paper; Reverse side: ink, color, and gold on paperAccession: 29.100.498On view in:Gallery 225